The term catharsis has also been adopted by modern psychotherapy, particularly Freudian psychoanalysis, to describe the act of expressing, or more accurately,experiencing the deep emotions often associated with events in the individual’s past which had originally been repressed or ignored, and had never been adequately addressed or experienced.
There has been much debate about the use of catharsis in the reduction of anger. Some scholars believe that “blowing off steam” may reduce physiological stress in the short term, but this reduction may act as a reward mechanism, reinforcing the behavior and promoting future outbursts. However, other studies have suggested that using violent media may decrease hostility under periods of stress. Legal scholars have linked “catharsis” to “closure” (an individual’s desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion toward ambiguity) and “satisfaction” which can be applied to affective strategies as diverse as retribution, on one hand, and forgiveness on the other. Interestingly, there’s no “one size fits all” definition of “catharsis”, and this doesn’t allow a clear definition of its use in therapeutic terms.